KIPUSHI, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – S queezed on to benches and on the floor, the Congolese students of Kipushi Primary School did not complain that they only had a few, battered textbooks to share – just down the road, hundreds of less fortunate children were working in open-pit mines.
Enrolment at the school – named after the town of 174,000 people, which is dominated by its copper, zinc and cobalt mines – has risen by 75% to 1,400 students since the Democratic Republic of Congo introduced free primary education in 2019.
“The difficulties are there but free education is a good thing because getting kids to study back then was a headache,” said Maloba Mputu Stany, principal of the school in the eastern province of Haut-Katanga.
“The teachers are doing what they can to facilitate the integration of children from the mines,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, as he searched for a list of new students in his cluttered office.
About 40 of the 600 new pupils, dressed in white and blue uniforms, are former child labourers, said Stany, who wants donors to fund teacher bonuses to give them catch-up sessions.
For the rest of this article: https://news.trust.org/item/20210809230101-ijcw9